Death of Minnetonka student sheds light on mental health, resources available

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After a 16-year-old Chanhassen, Minnesota teen was shot and killed by authorities, many are wondering how the situation escalated so quickly.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Archer Amorosi was suicidal and threatening his mother with knives and a baseball bat when she called 911 on Friday.

In light of the events, Fox 9 spoke with an organization that provides services for teens in need of help.

In Minneapolis and St. Paul, teenagers have more resources to turn to. But, in the southwest metro there's not as many options. One place is trying to cope with the large number of at risk youth reaching out for help.

Three years ago, the Open Hands Foundation, a nonprofit organization, built a shelter called the Hope House.

“It’s a place to get centered again and then be ready to be reconciled and then be reunited with the family,” said Bob Chatmas, executive director of the Open Hands Foundation.

The idea was for teenagers aged 14-19 to stop in if they were facing homelessness, abuse or dealing with a mental health issue.

“We partner with an organization called 180 Degrees and they provide professional services. They’re on site 365 days a year around the clock so when a situation arises—somebody comes to the door, somebody calls on the phone—they’re ready to take care of it,” Chatmas said.

Chatmas said the six-bedroom house offers a temporary break--not a permanent solution.

But as the issues of addiction, homelessness and mental crisis grow throughout the southwest metro, Hope House is seeing more teens come through.

"We think more people need to be aware of the Hope House. We think that the need for it is there," Chatmas said.

The shooting death of Archer Amorosi sparked intense discussions about de-escalation tactics by police when confronted by a suicidal person threatening violence.

Dr. Diana Pandey is a teen psychiatrist at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. She said the earlier you intervene, the more choices you have in an emergency. Dr. Pandey is among the grief counselors made available at Minnetonka high school in the wake of Amorosi's death.

“If someone is in immediate danger, you always want to call 911; they’re the means we have to get the response the fastest if someone is about to harm themselves or you’re worried about your immediate safety…911 is the right place to call,” Dr. Pandey said.


If you believe someone is at risk of suicide:

- Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their heads, or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)

- Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

- Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

- If possible, do not leave the person alone.